New Orleans’ Park Island, aka Demourelle Island, is an actual island in Bayou St. John. Many people don’t know it exists or the fantastic real estate that sits upon it.
A little bit of history
Someone back in the day, in the 1800s, decided they wanted to make the bayou straighter. When the dirt was dredged, it was piled on the land between the bayou’s original path and the new one. The island was gifted to D’Hemecourt (Isle D’Hemecourt is the original name), who sold it to James Demourelle – hence the commonly known name for the island.
Until 1905, the island was in the Demourelle family. It was used for many things, from a dairy farm to a city dump.
Fast forward to 1952 – five attorneys owned the island and had plans to divide it so they could each build a house there. Instead, they sold it to a corporate buyer, Park Island Incorporated, to build 28 homes. All but four of the homes are on the water. The last home was built in 1975.
Because of the time these homes were built, many are mid-century moderns. Each home is unique and unlike the one next to it.
The most famous house on Park Island is the “Ashtray house.” (This is one of the homes not on Bayou St. John) It’s called that by the ashtrays that adorn the exterior. Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin once lived there. A local rapper currently owns the home.
Park Island homes are notoriously hard to come by – as few ever come up for sale. If you’ve been dreaming of living there, you have to strike while the iron is hot!
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